The Urban Justice Center's Safety Net Project (SNP) is New York City's advocate for economic justice, combining direct legal services, litigation, research, and policymaking to achieve economic justice for all New Yorkers. We strengthen the safety net by ensuring access to public benefits, nutritional assistance programs, eviction prevention services, public housing, and emergency shelter to ensure that no New Yorker is without food, housing, or other basic human rights.
Originally founded in a burned-out building in East Harlem as the Legal Action Center for the Homeless, we ultimately evolved into an eleven-project umbrella organization known as the Urban Justice Center. Within this framework, we were known as the Homelessness Outreach & Prevention Project (HOPP) for nearly two decades, focusing on providing community legal services in soup kitchens and food pantries to individuals and families left with nowhere else to turn. During this era, our team secured a number of legal victories that restored millions of dollars in benefits to New Yorkers while maintaining our commitment to providing direct legal services in underserved communities throughout our city.
In early 2013, we decided to embark on a comprehensive rebranding effort – including a name change to the Safety Net Project – to better reflect our broad spectrum of services. Today, we continue the fight against poverty while maintaining our commitment to quality, individualized legal services for our neediest neighbors.
SNP's attorneys, advocates, and researchers hold the government accountable using a multi-pronged approach in order to ensure that no New Yorker is without food, shelter, or other basic human rights:
- Direct Legal Services: For over 20 years, our project has provided legal services directly to our clients in their neighborhoods. Most of our cases begin life at a legal clinic hosted by a community-based soup kitchen, food pantry, or other neighborhood organization. At clinic, low- and no-income New Yorkers meet with our attorneys and advocates to obtain legal advice and referrals and to have their cases evaluated for direct representation or other further action. Click here to get help.
- Litigation: Informed by our direct legal services, our litigation continues to bring lasting and systemic change to thousands of New Yorkers. Most recently, the litigation team brought 17 individual relief cases mandating the New York City Housing Authority to make critical repairs to dilapidated apartments peppered with gaping holes and black mold. Click here for more on our litigation efforts.
- Research & Policy: Our research reports, coalition work, and legislative advocacy have brought lasting change to thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers. We also provide technical assistance on research initiatives conducted by other community groups, and recently released the book Street Practice, which utilizes case studies to introduce models for urban research and policy advocacy. Click here to see our latest publications and reports.